How can I stop the noise in our house from traveling through the HVAC ceiling vents?

Answered by Jeffrey ~ March 30, 2012 ~ No Comments » | Respond to this question

In our house lots of noise (voices, TV, radio) travels from room to room through the ceiling vents, which are used for the home's cooling system. Is there any way to reduce the noise from traveling around?

Liz ~ El Paso, TX

Jeffrey Anderson

Hi Liz. I wish I knew of a good solution for your ductwork noise reduction issue, but I'm not aware of anything that completely eliminates the problem. A good HVAC designer normally does their best to stagger supply lines when laying out a home's ductwork in an effort to reduce noise transmission, but even that doesn't always work. The main problem areas are normally between baths and bedrooms, but as you can see, other rooms can be affected as well.

I have read about several solutions that help noise reduction and they might be worth a try. The first is replacing the first several feet of metal ductwork at the supply vents with a flex line that helps muffle sound. The only problem is that getting to the ductwork in a finished home normally entails removing drywall or other wall coverings. Depending on the number of problem vents, this can get somewhat costly.

The other possible solution is lining the first couple of feet of the ductwork at each vent with an adhesive sound insulation material. In many cases it's possible to get an arm into the ducts once the registers are removed. The insulation has a backing that can be peeled off allowing it to stick to the inside of the ducts. The only problem is the thickness of the insulation reduces the airflow in your ducts and can affect the efficiency of your heating and cooling system.

As both of these solutions could affect your HVAC warranty, I suggest getting the original installation contractor out to look at the problem and offer recommendations. If you have an older home and don't know who did the original work, it' still a good idea to have a professional look at the issue. It can get pretty hot in El Paso and noise might be preferable to a DIY solution that could cause your cooling costs to go up.

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